This article analyzes researchers’ adoption of an institutional central fund (or faculty publication fund) for open-access (OA) article-processing charges (APCs) to contribute to a wider understanding of take-up of OA journal publishing (“Gold” OA). Quantitative data, recording central fund usage at the University of Nottingham from 2006 to 2014, are analyzed alongside qualitative data from institutional documentation.
The importance of the settings of U.K. national policy developments and international OA adoption trends are considered. Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) is used as an explanatory framework. It is shown that use of the central fund grew during the period from covering less than 1% of the University’s outputs to more than 12%. Health and Life Sciences disciplines made greatest use of the fund.
Although highly variable, average APC prices rose during the period, with fully OA publishers setting lower average APCs. APCs were paid largely from internal funds, but external funding became increasingly important. Key factors in adoption are identified to be increasing awareness and changing perceptions of OA, communication, disciplinary differences, and adoption mandates.
The study provides a detailed longitudinal analysis of one of the earliest central funds to be established globally with a theoretically informed explanatory model to inform future work on managing central funds and developing institutional and national OA policies.